tv Today in Washington CSPAN October 14, 2011 6:00am-9:00am EDT
naval academy graduates. thanks very much. >> i have two who are west point graduates. >> i yield back. >> thank you for being here for your service. mr secretary of want to thank you for the clarity of your response that there should be no further cuts in our military defense. equally i appreciate you stating your belief that that is the position of the president. this is so important that our country and adversaries around the world know that we will be prepared and able to defend the american people. general dempsey, with the number of threats the secretary identified that are rising, not being reduced it is important that we be able to fight a two conflict war.
i am concerned with the drawdown below 520,000, the marines below 186, 600, that puts us at risk. will we face the two front war? >> data analysis is ongoing but i can assure you i would never advocate strategy for this nation that would limit as to being able to doing one thing at a time because that is not the world we live in. >> thank you very much. i am honored. i worked with ranking member susan davis to promote military families. service members, veterans. and extraordinary benefit they have is the resale system. they operate in the most bizarre locations around the world. it is a really great moral
builder. a way of showing our respect to the military. we have extraordinary facilities such as paris island which i represent. what is your view about military resale system? in light of budget restraints can we count on behalf of this benefit to be available? >> that is a very important benefit for the families that are out there. having served two years myself and had my family benefit from that high understand how important that is. something we will continue to provide. as we go through the process of looking at the infrastructure there may be some areas where we may have to reduce the presence but for the overall benefit we
believe we will maintain. >> a side issue that has been raised is the number of military families that work in remote areas that simply couldn't find employment otherwise so it has so many signs that should be considered. i am pleased that congressman loebsack brothers of. the national guard, as a proud father of three sons in the national guard, as we get into the circumstances of budget cutting and determining prioritization, i can here enough because i know firsthand the extraordinary success of south carolina. and the reserve appreciate serving overseas and in the
country. >> there's another factor i think is important to the reserve and the guard which is reserved and the guard reaches into every community across this country and makes every community a part of the national defense system. to some extent every community has to participate not only in service but sacrifice involved when we defend this country. for that reason the grassroots operation of having strong reserve, strong guard that can help us as we confront the crises of the future is something i want to assure you we will not only maintain strength. >> i will add having served multiple floors in iraq and afghanistan and most of the time when i go someplace it is and air national guardsman. i have driven to the center of
baghdad being defended by the fighting 69th out of new york. the highest respect you conveyed to the reserve is you can't tell what soldiers are guardsmen and which soldiers are reserve components. we are truly one for snell. >> thank you so much. >> thank you, miss tsongas. >> thank you for appearing before this committee and we look forward to many more to come. i don't relish the job you have. you have a difficult task in view of the extraordinary challenges we face. we have known with the debt and deficit the defense department has to absorb its fair share but we all know we want to do it in as thoughtful away as possible. i appreciate when you said you
were a learning organization and as you talk about the assessment of risk, how you develop strategy to assess those risks just a comment. i would hope you also take into account that not every risk can be dealt with through military response, there are limits to our capacity to deal with every threat militarily and there are other ways as well. just to comment for the record as a learning organization i am sure that is something you will take into account as well. also want to reiterate the importance of the national guard reservists and the fifth district of massachusetts who are serving today are doing it through one of those great organizations and they have done it with such dignity and professionalism but i wanted to go in a different direction. yesterday the former chairman of our committee testified in a
hearing that, quote, the strength of the u.s. military flows from the dedication and skill of our all volunteer force. the new defense budget must maintain our nation's security by keeping, quote, the profession of arms, quote, professional. i believe this is a few you both share. with women playing an increasing role in the military, the issues confronting the servicemen and servicewoman an issue would like to address is the issue of sexual assault in the military which is reported with alarming frequency. in 2010 there were 3,230 reported sexual assault in the military but by the pentagon's don't estimate as few as 10% of sexual assaults are reported. the v a estimates one in three women who report experiencing some form of military sexual
trauma and i can tell you from the anecdotal evidence the stories i hear both from returning women veterans and the va organizations in massachusetts those numbers are accurate. obviously it is unconscionable to begin with that so many of our brave service members are subjected to this criminal and predatory behavior in this will hurt our readiness by deterring highly skilled and patriotic women from enlisting or reenlisted in our armed forces. in a time of two wars and massive budget cuts our been the -- military needs to attract the most capable personnel possible. in 2008 when and done with the became the first woman to be confirmed as the four star general women made up 14% of active-duty personnel. we must make sure these women's
needs are being met. the house version of the national defense authorization act which passed in may takes several important steps to address sexual assault in the armed forces. this work has been done for a combined efforts of many of my colleagues. representative davis and rep turner. when he appeared before the committee in february i raised this matter and our response with your predecessor, secretary gates and asked him why the department previously resisted efforts to put certain protections in place. he responded he hadn't realize the department had resisted and he would look into it and find out why they oppose it and why they shouldn't go forward. i have a simple question. mr secretary, in this time of austerity where we face massive budget cuts to the department of
defense and potentially threatening cuts, a sequester is exercised. can i count on your support to fund new initiatives aimed at preventing sexual assault in the armed forces? i don't want to see this budget environment become an excuse to not fund these investigations. >> thank you for your leadership on that issue. it is an issue i am paying a lot of attention to because women are performing in an outstanding fashion for the department of defense. they put their lives on the line. they are doing great in terms of helping to defend this country and i think we have to make sure we provide all of the protection necessary so that what happens in these horrendous sexual assault cases should not happen and if it does happen that justice is rendered quickly. >> i look forward to working
with you. >> in your discussion of the range of threats we might face you said nuclear conflict is unlikely. it is unlikely because of the strength of nuclear deterrent. it is credible and reliable. cuts that are currently pending before congress to the nuclear deterrent could affect that credibility and reliability at a time when china and russia are investing in the nuclear weapons infrastructure we're looking at proposed cuts that would create folder ability and instability. under years of this investment, this modernization looks at the issue of deferred costs. i will ask you a question that i know your answer because we had the opportunity to discuss this tuesday. i appreciate your commitment to fully funding modernization program of the national nuclear security administration. it is important to have you expressed those opinions because
we are heading to the prospect of an omnibus in which there could be significant cuts that occurred to our nuclear weapons infrastructure. i know you are aware of the new start treaty being proposed the president was asked for a commitment to modernization of our program. the president and senate recognized the issue goes to lower numbers that you have to set aside increased dollars so we can have security and understanding we had deferred maintenance and have to go forward with modernization and the president said i recognize nuclear modernization requires investment for the long term in addition to this 1-year budget increase is my commitment to congress the administration will pursue these programs and capabilities as long as i am president. the program included $85 billion investment for modernization. you are aware of this program reside in the department of
energy as opposed to the department of defense and secretary gates showing his commitment to this program set aside $8.3 billion to invest in that program. gates then saying this modernization program carefully worked out between ourselves and the department of energy and where we came out on that played a significant role in the willingness of the senate to ratify the agreement. the risks are to our own program in terms of being able to extend the life of our weapons system. this modernization project from a security and political standpoint really important. my question is do you agree with secretary gates and the importance of the modernization program and what is your assessment of the proposed cuts? the modernization program in addition to coming across from the president's budget was included in the house budget and
was fully funded and stumbled out of the appropriations committee. both the house and senate appropriations committee taking a whack at the program. the omnibus moving forward your statements are even more important now. one of the issues with your support of $8.3 billion the department of energy programs is at those funds come out of the appropriations committee with cuts your funds are being stolen from water project across the country and you might have an opinion about that. >> in those committees they will reach for whatever they can to try to see if they can fund those projects. i understand that process but it is tremendously shortsighted if they reduce the funds that are essential for modernization. secretary gates are in lock step with our positions and with the president that we have got to
fully fund the modernization effort with regard to the nuclear area. this is too important. we have always been at the cutting edge of this technology and we have to stay there. there too many countries trying to reach out to develop this capability. if we are not stay ahead we jeopardize the security of this country. for that reason i certainly would oppose any reduction with regard to the funding. >> your statement is important that this is not an area we can find savings were cuts actually expose risk. if you might wish to comment on modernization as our warheads continue to age infrastructure continues to atrophy and becomes a decrepit state we look to our nuclear deterrent. as we look to lowering numbers we lessen our ability to hedge
as our infrastructure ages. do you have a comment on that? >> just to reinforce what you said. >> could you do that for the record? >> thanks very much. for the record. got it. >> thanks very much. thank you, mr secretary for being before our committee today and for your diligence in answering great diversity of questions. i want to echo the remarks of my friend and colleague mr. jones. he is no longer in the room but i appreciate his vigilance and courage in continuing to highlight the importance of ending the war and bringing the troops home. we started the day with protesters in the room. sometimes they seem disruptive or their tactics we might argue with but we are facing a time
when there are protesters in every city where we reside or represent and there is huge dissatisfaction in our country about representation they feel many of us give them in congress and one key area is ending the war. many people feel we were misguided getting into iraq and have been in afghanistan too long and the time of budget deficit we cannot justify $120 million a year. i have been on this committee, this is my third year but i have a feeling we are in an unconscionable inertia around the war. hard to end in terms of 2015 or 2016 and people continually wonder when will we end the war, particularly after the capture of bin laden, after the reduced number of al qaeda operatives and in light of huge concerns in
countries all over the world which we are not adequately prepared for or ready to defend ourselves. are don't think it is a related that we're facing need for budget cuts and there is dissatisfaction with the way we do things. on the right it is about our growing deficits and the irresponsibility many people feel. on the left this idea why don't we end the war and why we spending $120 billion if we need to cut defense. that is why we are facing such difficult cuts. i feel it is important to echo that. i agree with many of my colleagues that we need a strong defense. represent the greatest shipbuilders in the world where we keep our submarines safe and working and are and stand we don't have a strong enough navy. there are threats from china and we don't want to be a smaller force than they are. there are huge security needs
around the country. i just believe this war which has been crippling us as a nation that had excessive cost and forced us to prepare for exclusively ground wars and not be prepared in other areas has to end. all that said, you stated your own opinion on that. i feel the importance of reinforcing it and reflect the thoughts of many colleagues in congress and the majority of residents in my district it is an issue i hear about frequently. on a completely different topic as you are pondering difficult cuts that need to be made i want to echo the remarks of mr. reyes who talked about the defense business board and appreciate your response to that. the plan is under consideration. thank you very much for talking about the difference in a retirement system for the military than in civilian life. you said it extremely well.
people moved constantly and serve their countries in ways we don't do and build a retirement and i strongly oppose that plan. i disagree with making those cuts. frankly i would say that with a commission on wartime contract in-betweens $30 billion, and $60 billion and $1 billion more in wasted weapons programs that never make it into war fighters handed is hard to justify targeting military families when it seems to me there are other places to be cut. you stated your opinion eloquently on both of these things. if you have other comments i am pleased to hear them but i wanted to add my voice to others who feel we are not moving fast enough on ending of the war.
>> i respect your concerns and recognize frustration having been through these wars and the losses we have incurred. we are in the process of ending the war in iraq by the end of this year. we will have withdrawn all of our combat forces from iraq. that is going to happen. with afghanistan i am fully confident the president of the united states is committed to ensuring we transition our combat forces out of there by 2014. we just have to do this right. what i don't want to happen and we need to be concerned about is if we do this in the wrong way, if we do it so fast that afghanistan fall apart again and becomes a safe haven for the taliban or al qaeda and we are subject to attacks again, the world is going to look at us and say how could you let that happen? that is what i am trying to prevent. to do this but do it
responsibly. >> i would like to answer that for the record. >> mr. kline. >> congratulations on your appearance in your new roles. i want to thank you for your comments about responsibly disengaging from afghanistan. we have many of our sons and daughters. it would be a terrible disservice for them to serve with no chance of succeeding as well as an incredible danger to our own country. thank you for that. i want to congratulate you on your announcement about 2014, and 2017. long overdue to have an audit. 2017 neither one of us will be
here. i am cautiously optimistic that that might occur but i appreciate your take and trying to get that done. looking at these budget cuts, those in the works and those that are potentially out there i am mindful of a former chief of staff who talked about the tyranny of personal cost. i know that is of some concern when we have stepped up to meet our obligations to the men and women that are serving in terms of medical care, pay raises, retirement benefits and so forth and i am very concerned that we honor your pledge to keep faith with those who have served and i want to get to the question and
the discussion started by mr. reyes about retirement benefits. i wasn't fort lewis, texas visiting my favorites folder and his family and talking with families and soldiers about the story that was ripping around the united states army in the army times and elsewhere and the high level of concern that the retirement benefit they had served and work for were going to be yanked away. clearly i think that would be breaking faith with those who served, and horribly irresponsible. the same can be said of other benefits we put forward but i want to focus on this retirement rumor which they were taking as real and actively considered that after serving a number of
years that they were going to get something substantially less than what they signed up for. i would like to hear from both of you that you are adamantly opposed to that happening, changing those retirement benefits for are serving men and women. >> i am adamantly opposed to changing the retirement benefits for those currently on active duty but i also open to look at changes to the retirement system as part of the overall look at compensation for the future. >> we can not break faith with those who served and deployed time and time again and were promised the benefits of this retirement program. those benefits are going to be protected under any circumstances. >> i yield back. >> thank you. mr. johnson.
>> thank you. secretary panetta, general dempsey, i want to congratulate each one of you all for your new position and look forward to working with you. i have served on this committee almost five years now and one thing i have noticed is from time to time we have needed the presence of our capital police officers to maintain order in the room while we conduct our business and i certainly respect the rights of people to come in and protest what we are doing but don't have a right to interrupt our meetings. we had a large contingent of protesters today and we were able to proceed with the meeting because we had adequate
resources to maintain order. the capitol hill police department. appreciate their service. i also noticed during history that from time to time there are disturbances throughout the world and these disturbancess may interrupt our various interests around the world and it is necessary for us to have some kind of force to maintain order. i hate that human beings have to have some protection, the strong over the week, the week is seek to get stronger and take over from strong folks but it is like competition let capitalism. it is a natural cumin
phenomenon. we must have sufficient force when necessary to bring about the kind of relief that we need in terms of maintaining order throughout the world. that is why we need a sufficient military force that is ready to respond immediately to whatever the circumstances might be. people always try to get more innovative coming up with new ways of doing things and hurting people and hurting us, americans. so we have to stay a few steps ahead of that at all times. if we don't, then we are not taking care of our business as
elected officials in this country. that having been said, mr. secretary, i believe global nuclear disarmament is necessary if our country and our species are to survive and flourish. i understand the need to maintain a deterrent capability for the time being but we can never the less dramatically cut our stockpiles and slow investment. do you agree nuclear weapons programs should be on the table as we determine how to reduce spending over the next ten years? >> we strongly believe we have to maintain a strong deterrent against countries that could use nuclear weapons against us. with regards to reducing our nuclear arena that is an area
where we should not do that unilateral. . we ought to do that on the basis of negotiations with the russians and others to make sure we are all walking the same path. >> certainly. i definitely agree with that comment. the army has been $2.7 billion tried to build an intelligence analysis platform. the program known as sixth day, that program is five years behind schedule, vastly over budget and fails to meet the needs of our soldiers. an article appeared in politico earlier this summer detailing those figures and explained the program was unable to perform the simplest task and frequently
>> both to counter the threat our homeland and to provide for testing? >> i've had the chance to visit norad and stratcom as well, and i had a chance to really look at our capabilities. i think we are in good shape with regards to our ability to respond. it doesn't mean we shouldn't continue to upgrade. doesn't mean we shouldn't continue to look at other ways to try to expand that capability. we really do have a very remarkable defense system setup to deal with that challenge. >> i look forward to continued conversations on this with you both. now a separate question that has to do with capability. this is for both of you. as all rescheduled budget cuts to the department of defense in excess of $400 billion for the next 10 years begin to take place, and apart from sequestration, do you anticipate
the army reducing the number of brigade combat team's? >> the former chief of staff of the army and currently chairman, i do anticipate that the army will reduce the number of combat team, but not just because the pressure of a new fiscal environment. again, i'm all about trying to understand what the nation needs in 2020. what we learned over the last 10 years of war. there is a plan that general odierno is working with my support to take a look at how many brigade combat team the unique, if you change the nature of the brigade combat team. so rollback in another maneuver battalion, some intel assets, things we did know we needed 10 years ago, now we know we need them. so we will reduce the number of brigade combat teams, but the number remains will be more capable. >> are you talking about doing something simultaneously with
anticipated drawdowns of the number of troops in both iraq and afghanistan? >> stated in no. even if it all the money we needed, we want to make some changes based on the lessons of the last 10 years of war. so we need to do that. >> but are you most anticipate a reduction in the number of teams that would correspond to the number of troops being brought home from the two countries? >> no, sir. there i is a relationship betwen what the combatant commanders established as a demand. so we know what a steady-state demand is. part of that demand is articulated by what we see as the future of iraq and afghanistan. we know, for example, if the demand is 10 we have to have a minimum of 30 because there's one in the demand cycle, one just out, when gingrich ago. 30 is not the number but i'm using that illustratively. >> if there is sequestration, how would that impact the ability of our military to
address the kind of threats that you both talked about earlier in your testimony? >> all bets are off because sequestration would demand such drastic across the board cuts, that it's pretty clear that the force structure would be reduced drastically. we would be looking at having to increase the number of risks within the military. and in addition to that there's no question that we would hollow out the force because it would require these drastic deep across the board cuts that would affect training, equipment and everything else. it would really be devastating in terms of our national interest. >> general, is there anything you would care to add to that? >> as a former service chief, the way a service achieve maintains the balance of his forces, ps3, one of manpower, and strength, that's one. the other is modernization and equipment of the others training and maintenance.
the impact of the sequestration is not only in its magnitude, it's in what it does, what it directs the service chiefs to do in each of those. we lose control. as we lose control, we will become out of bounds and we will not have the military this nation needs. >> thank you. >> the gentleman's time has expired. ms. hanabusa. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary, and thank you, general. let me begin first with mr. secretary. my questions are on the line of the future. as you know, the chair has put the series of hearings together about 9/11 and the future, and your the fifth in the series. general cody retired, said this in his testimony, and i've written it down because it's something that has stuck with me. he says the real question with regard to service our simple. what mission spee-1 our military
to continue to perform, what you want our military to counter, what level of readiness the what the military to sustain, and his thought was we're not very good at that. but we are here and that's almost what we are kind of forced to do. so mr. secretary, from your vantage point, what is this vision that you want to share with us that you perceive this military has got to look like? and gentle, so you can start thinking about your response, i'm very curious about your 2020 joint force statement. if you could start with that. mr. secretary, can you begin with that first? >> i think the general who testified, you know, hit the right buttons. we've got to look at the threats that are out there. as i indicated we are dealing with a variety of threats that remain out there that are serious and that challenge our security. it begins with terrorism, the inability to respond and keep
the pressure on terrorism so that people can't attack his company -- country. we are involved in those wars. we got to bring into any and. thirdly, the area dealing with iran and north korea, and not on the nuclear proliferation from those countries but the threats that they constitute in the regions that they are involved in. we've got to be able to deal with the middle east and the unrest that is going on in the middle east. we've got to be able to deal with the challenge of china and rising powers. we've got to be able to deal with cyber. that's a quick rundown of the threats that are out there. we've got to be able if we're going to defend this country, be able to an effective force that can respond to each one of those threats. that's we've got to do. that's the vision we got to create. >> mr. secretary, but isn't that the problem? i've had these discussions and i represent hawaii. of course, china and north korea are very real.
is the fact that to be agile, aren't we looking at different types of forces? we've always thought about i think force on force is one of the words the general used before, but we have counter insurgency, counterterrorism, and all of that are different to attack different kind of problems. if you've got a limited amount of resources, what rises to the top, or can anything not rise to the top and we just have to do it all? >> you've got to begin flexible. that's what we're going to have to be in the future. >> general? >> well, this is exactly the conversation we're having with ourselves, so if you're not too busy we wouldn't mind having you on our committee because -- >> i would love to come. >> the sort of intellectual framework is that when we get to 2020 we need to have taken into
account the capabilities, 10 years ago we didn't have a capability inside. 10 years ago our special operating forces were nowhere near as capable as they are today. these two areas are exponentially more capable. so what we're looking at in 2020 is what is this exponential improvement and capability, in those two areas that didn't exist 10 years ago, 10 years from now? what will that allow us to do with the conventional forces? and how to integrate those capabilities, not just keep piling them on top of each other? as we continue to pile we run the risk you just articulated of becoming unaffordable. so that's one answer to your question. secondly, we will have to make some decisions about where in the world we will take more or less risk. and that's a matter of understanding demographic change, climate change, economic change, and which countries in the world are appearing to align themselves against our
interests. our interests are not going to change. when you access to resources. we need the freedom of navigation, and we need to be partnered on issues of common interest with our allies and partners. so we will be able to articulate that world, and then back at where we are today and use the next four years when we, 13-17, 16-20 to build that force. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chair thank you. mr. wittman. >> thanks much for joining us today. thanks for service to our nation and things are coming here to discuss with us what we know to be some of the most important decisions that we all will make in a long time. secretary panetta, begin with you pick your statement are you talking about those for decision-making guidelines. i'm in full agreement with clear strategic priorities, making sure we have a ready, agile and deployed will force, making sure
we have the capability and capacity as was spoken of. i think those are critical. as we look at that, that clear strategic program, plan, whatever you want to call, for the department of defense, as you spoke of there will be some risks that are out there within a decision-making framework. the question then becomes, as you are faced, both of you are faced with $450 billion in reductions the next 10 years, is how do you calculate those risks? how do you make priority decisions? and around that as you said is very dynamic, changes all the times, threats emerge, threats disappear. my question is this, as you look at prioritizing can you tell us this, prioritizing, what are the three areas that you say has to be preserved and what are three areas most likely to be cut?
>> you know, again it really wouldn't be fair to throw those issues out there because we are really in the process of looking at all of those areas and trying to decide as we do with the threats that are out there, what do we need to confront those threats and how can we respond, and where is it that we can seek some reductions. look, let's just begin with what i think is going to be, you know, something that is pretty clear. we're going to have a smaller force your if you have a smaller force your not going to be able to be out there responding in as many areas as we do now. so the decision then is going to be what are the areas we have to prioritize. for example, korea. we have large presence in korea. korea remains a real threat. i think we have to maintain that presence there.
are there other areas then where we are deployed, for example, in europe we've got a base structure in europe that is pretty broad. you know, do we need to maintain all of that? at the same time we're dealing with these other needs. so you can see the kind of trade-offs that will have to be made based on the threat, based on the nature of the threat. but by doing that, i guess what i need to make clear to everyone, particularly on this committee, is that when you do that then there are some risks associate with it. what are the risk, for example, it would reduce our presence in europe? if the relationship with nato and the role that nato place. are we going to be able to them to provide the kind of support that nato needs in order to do its job. those are the kind of issues that i think we will have to make. >> very good. general dempsey? >> yes, thank you. just to be clear about the in
state. i didn't become the chairman of the joint chiefs to oversee the decline of the armed forces of the united states, and an end state that would have this station and its military not be a global power. so you're never going here is a we will be really good in the pacific but we're going to completely ignore the indian ocean. we just can't do that. that's not who we are as a nation. and so we will remain a global power and the armed forces, the united states will remain the most dominant military on the planet. i mean, we owe the country and we owe the young men and women we sent into harm's way that. so we look at the future and priority, prioritization. it's not a matter of ignoring anything because again, we can say that, it will look good on a powerpoint slide, it will make us feel good but at the end of the day we're not going to do anything that threatens our nation, or threatens our interests. risk is generally managed in terms of time here that's kind
of in delicate and. a concert to flush out for you over time, and so if we were to say that we have to do two, three, four things at a time, we could add up the resources required, i could put a bill on the table and say here's what we need but i know you don't have that kind, so you'll take all the rest are just telling you that. and that's not where we need to go. we need to say look, there's 10 things we need to be able to do. these we can actually take some risk in terms of time. whether it's the time to activate the reserve component, whether it's the time to generate it. so time is the independent variable here and we're trying to determine how to use it. >> thanks, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> mr. ryan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and congratulations to both of you, secretary panetta, my mom is 100% italian so congratulations on being the second battalion american secretary of defense. let me associate myself first
with congressman loebsack's remarks regarding the defense industrial base. i represent a district in northeast ohio, as you know, and it is critical that we have this money that were spinning, the billions of dollars invested back into our country. eyes and ears was first on this committee dealing with the berry amendment, and sometimes the waivers that were granted to the berry amendment for specialty metals was happening way too often when we have american companies, titanium and others, who could provide the materials for the military. so i hope as you continue to push down through the bureaucracy your view and your vision that some of this is taken into consideration. the one issue i do want to talk to you about, we see often in our district when young kids come back and they've been killed in action, there on the front page of the paper, we have parades and got passionate gut wrenching services with her high
school buddies and the whole nine yards. one of the issues i've been concerned with is the issue of the kids who come back that never get reestablish organ with high levels of ptsd. and there in the obituary section in the back of the paper. there are not parades and there's no banners and there's not huge services and community recognition. one of the issues i think is dealing this blow to these kids is the extreme and prolonged levels of stress that they have in multiple tours. and in being able to deal with us, not on as combat troops but also trying to do with the stress afterwards. someone to call to your attention a program called the fitness training program that was established by a woman named liz stanley in georgetown. it is beginning to show both in trials within the army and in the brains. there's an article article in the marine corps times a couple
weeks ago called bulletproofing your brain. it basically helps these folks deal with the stress levels that did it was in combat. and you see what high levels of stress belong, you have to mission in your cognitive abilities, diminish in your situational awareness, your ability to focus and cause a lot of problems while in theater. but what they are starting see here and study in the field of neuroscience is that you can actually change the shape of your brain. you can make new nerve connections. and i think this is important when you begin to teach the soldiers, both to raise their performance and improve their performance as soldiers in able to focus better, having more efficient use of the faculties as they are dealing with the, increased levels of situational awareness. but also been able to do with stressful situations afterwards when they come back. and i think this program, if you look at it and start looking up
what some of the studies are suggesting, i think he can have a transformational effect. is my own personal opinion. science, the case is being built but i think he can have transformational affects on getting these soldiers the tools that the need for when they go back home, benefits now and benefits when they go back home. and the reports we're getting back in some of these articles from people in the marines, in the platoons, is that they think something is there. they feel, one quote was a soldier who said, there's been too i think afghanistan was and iraq twice learned this program after he got back, and he said boy, i wish i would've had this before i went over. so i wanted to bring that to your attention, ask your opinions on trying to look at some of these alternative approaches to training our soldiers and giving them may be prepared and better ways to deal with what they're going to see, hear, smell and have to deal with.
>> congressman, i want you to know that i'm willing to look at anything, anything that can help, be able to serve these men and women when they come back from the battlefield, to be able to adjust and be able to do with the pressures and the stresses that they bring back with them. this is a real problem. we have to higher rate on suicides. and it's an issue that bothers me terribly. because i'm writing condolence letters sent to those families. and that just, you know, it's unacceptable. we ask these guys to go into horrendous conditions. they put their lives on the line. they have to face and credible threats to them and to their buddies, and suddenly, you know, they are pulled out of the and brought back to this country and having to face him the pressures fear of having to adjust.
what ever -- >> i love to work with you more on this program, general as well. and hopefully at some point with every committee hearing on a, bring the neural sciences, bring the crew hear from some of folks have expressed it already. >> good idea. the gentleman's time has expired. mr. hunter. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary, in general, for your service and dedication to duty. it's an honor to be with you today. one, general, i'm reassured by your comments you just make him sound like you said not having a global influence is not an option. but it is if a trillion dollars worth of cuts goes into effect over the next 10 years. a lot of folks in my cause in both sides have hit on the high level points, but i think what we need to do is have a conversation with the american people that if we have like a checkpoint charlie berlin situation in the strata taiwan, we have to build up there for some reason, and we have humanitarian disaster, we have a nuclear fallout in japan like with their nuclear plants,
medical income indian ocean, other parts of the south china sea, atlanta, pacific, there's not going to be away for us to respond to everything if we pretend military. so we have had a conversation with the amount of people, do you not want to help israel? we can't help israel if we have a build up at taiwan or some other area where we have to stare the bad guys in the eyes. we have had that conversation. i do think the american people realize that not helping israel, for instance, is one of the options that will be on the table if those cuts go through. so bring it down from the 10,000-foot view down to ground level, talk about ieds. i think a lot has happened under secretary gates. we had the uae working group, the ied working group, dr. carter, all of these different groups getting together. but it still takes a long time, sometimes months, sometimes years to feel deploy, do r&d and get stuck to the field even if it's only 80% solution.
the newest thing with the marine corps, i was there literally, not as a marine but as a civilian when they got the silk underwear because of the ieds and the way that things are going with ieds and the type of injuries they have. but that's the extent of what the american mind and the american industrial base can provide to armor rings and soldiers is hopefully a cleaner extraction of the fragmentation as opposed to a way to combat. so my question is, what fresh thinking and what kind of outside of the box ideas are you bringing to the fight on the number one threat to our men and women, 70% of our casualties are caused by that? historically low casualty rates compared to any other war in human history, but it's still there and that's my question. >> and then if i could, how will these budget cuts, if they go into effect, affect our counter
ied fight? thank you. >> thank you, congressman. thinking of defeating the ieds, thought about in three aspects. you have to defeat the device they do also have to defeat the network that produces it, which is the supply chain, the leadership, the facilitation and the financing of it. then there's an issue called signatures which is one of the creative ways we've been getting after identifying through various sensors, the signature component of an ied so you can track the network and defeat the device. that is ongoing. what we've done in the army is essentially said the ied is the enduring threat to our force for the foreseeable future. so we need to institutionalize, it can't any longer be thought of as a one off threat. it's there and it will always be there, because the enemy knows that asymmetrically they can attack us that we. giant it is an important
organization. it's fully funded so we can do the kind of work that you're describing. and so at this point i can tell you even in the 450 billion plus cut, or reduction, we can account for which he said. if the reduction goes deeper than that, i would have to, we'll have to take a look at everything will be affected if there's another phase of this thing. >> i think one of the real success stories in my predecessor was the ability to develop the vehicles that had to be done on a quick timetable to get them out to the battlefield. under most circumstances that would've taken eight or 10 years. what they did is they basically said we need them, we need them now, they made a contract. they required it be produced within a timeframe. i got it done. we got out there, and we provided it out on the battlefield. that's the model i think we have
to follow as we deal with these kind of threats. we can't just sit back and allow this thing to go over a long period of time. we've got to get it and get it done have spent the normal acquisition process had to be bypassed by this congress and by your predecessor for that to happen. thank you both. i yield back. >> the gentleman's time has expired. mr. garamendi. >> gentlemen, thank you very much. mr. panetta, it's always good to share a table our lives and opportunity with you. general, thank you for your service. i have a series of questions come actually three. i will send them to in writing and save a little bit of time around here. in discussions about maintaining our industrial base which we like to call make it in america, there are numerous questions that have arisen about the outsourcing to other countries, key military equipment. for example, the fuel for the hellfire missiles made in china. raises a bit of a question.
many of the components that deal with the targeting of our critical weapons are also made overseas in china and other places. this is a major concern, and i'll send you a more detailed question on it. the other point that i would just make is that from the far left to the far right, various think tanks have been thinking about what to do with the military. a very interesting matrix can be put together, was put together by mike military fellow. and it's very interesting where both come down from far left to the far right and in the middle about things that can be done. i'll send you that matrix and i think you might find it useful exercise, and maybe you've already done it, about where at least those two spectrums, far out of spectrums find similar potential. i'll let it go at that. you can, if you like your take a deep breath and take a pass.
thank you very much. >> thank you, john. >> at this time ms. roby from alabama. >> thank you. i just want to say personally what an honor to be here in front of you both today, and i just appreciate your willingness to serve our country. i want to touch on something a little bit more on the personal side as it relates to our troops. we've talked about strategic planning, and certainly that's very important as we move forward with these cuts. but we've got to talk about the morale of the men and women who are currently serving our country, both here and abroad, and why, this whole discussion is doing to them as they move forward in their day and nights away from the family and really what that looks like. i had the opportunity several months ago to sit down with some soldiers at fort rucker, alabama, and talk to them about
what can we do to help support them. this one soldier looked at me, and his pregnant wife was sitting by his side, and he looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, ms. roby, don't worry about me, just take care of her. and we are fast approaching as we move towards their realness of the sequestration, because as i've said many times, that this joint committee in a lot of ways is a microcosm of all the problems we already have in congress, and as we move towards this deadline date, it's that soldier and his wife and his family that is the real victim in this. time and time again over the course of my short time here in congress, our military families have been the ones that have been the insurance policy against political debate here in washington. ..
>> that they know that they're loved and that they feel secure. and when you have a soldier serving overseas whose spouse is at home having to worry about whether or not that paycheck is going to come for them to put groceries on the table or, um, or to make the car payment or the house payment, you, general, said that no matter how awesome our technology as moving forward as a progressive military, our men and women in uniform are what make this military great.
so i just wanted to give you an opportunity to both respond to that aspect of what we're looking at down the road. >> congresswoman, i thank you for that, for that question. um, our men and women are out there putting their lives on the line in order to defend our democracy. i, i think that one to of the gt national security threats is the dysfunctionalty of the congress and its inability to confront the issues that we face now. and i think your concern is that this committee that's been established might fail to provide the leadership that it's been given or the responsibility it's been given to be able to come up in a responsible way with additional deficit reduction, that concerns me as
well. i have to share with you, i'm, you know, i served in this house for 16 years. during that 16 years, we faced a lot of great threats, we faced a lot of problems. but the leadership was there on both sides of the aisle, republicans and democrats, to work together to try to find solutions to these issues, not to walk away from them. and i think what's very important for the supercommittee and for all members of congress is to take the time to think about the sacrifice that those men and women go through to put their lives on the line in order to be able to defend this country. and if members of the congress would be willing to engage in the same kind of sacrifice, then i think they will have earned the right to represent those constituents in the congress. >> thank you. i appreciate that. general? >> it's hard to do a better job
of answering your question and the concern behind it than the secretary just did, but in everything we're doing right now, in every deliberation about strategies and how we're going to absorb different reductions, the family, the soldier, the family, veterans, the wounded warriors, gold star families are always the first issue that we discuss. and if we only end up with one dollar at the end of all of this, it'll go to a family. >> i appreciate that. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> the chair now recognizes mr. coffman from colorado. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first of all, thank you so much for your decades of distinguished service, secretary panetta, general dempsey. and for your dedication to maintaining a strong military. i am reminded of history of great britain after world war ii where they still saw themselves as a world power, but they came out heavily in debt, they were
weak, weakened by world war ii. they were still engaged in anticommunist operations in greece and turkey but had to turn to the united states, and we assumed that role. and there's nobody behind us. china's a rising power, and i don't think we'd ever want to return that responsibility over to china. and so we have to maintain that strong military, that global power as both of you have so well articulated today. let me put three questions forward, and if we run out of time in terms of answering them, then if you could answer them on the record. the first one is that we still have a selective service in place, yet according to the army recruiting command individuals between the ages of 18 and 22, 75% of them, i believe, are ineligible today for enlistment in the united states army of young people between the ages of 18 and 22. in 1973, it was the last year we
had the draft. in this 1974 we disbanded selective service. in 1979 jimmy carter put it back on the table as a response to the soviet invasion of afghanistan. and it's never, it still exists today. and it's not even in your budget. it's an independent agency, and it's under the financial services committee, it's not even under this committee. so the question is, do we still need it? the second is in south korea i believe the united -- we are moving from one-year to three year unaccompanied -- three year accompanied tours for our 28,000-force presence there. that decision was made, i think, really during the heighth of the iraq war when dwell times were next to nothing. but we're phasing out of iraq now, we'll be phasing down in
afghanistan, dwell times will expand. and the question is do we really need to spend the $13 billion that i believe is necessary military construction to accommodate that change in policy? can we do something that's more cost effective given the expansion dwell times like deploying battalions for six month rotations to and from conas? the last issue, i think we have rank inflation in the military, and i'd like you to take a look at that. i believe if we look at the height of the cold war when i was in the united states army, we had a military much larger then, but i believe there are more four-star flag officers in the military today and a much smaller force. i think we have as many admirals as we have ships in the united states navy, and i think that that is duplicative through the rest of the military, and i would certainly like you to take a look at that and the costs
associated with that. could you go through those three questions, please? >> no, we are looking at -- i'll just go from bottom to top, and the secretary will take the question about selective service. we are looking at rank, some of the rank inflation as a result of international partners and their desire for flags, but we are looking at that, believe me. secondly, on korea tour normalization, it's part of our strategy review at the forward presence wherever we happen to be, but notably in korea and in europe. and, again, to determine how best to do it in an affordable way, and i assure you that we are alert to the fact that tour normalization to three-year tours might become cost prohibitive. we do need some structure there with families because of the message it sends and the readiness increases when you have soldiers there for a longer period of time. >> i mean, we're in the process
of looking at everything that costs a lot of money, and that's one of the things that costs a lot of money that we need to look at and determine whether or not we can find some savings in the way we approach that. on the selective service, the registration, registration is still required, you're right that there is a system. it's not associated with us, but, you know, my view is that we ought to maintain the registration aspect because particularly as we go through these budget cuts, particularly as we go into the future if we face, you know, one of those surprises, if we face one of those crises that suddenly occurs, west virginia got to have some -- we've got to have some mechanisms in place in order to respond. the volunteer force is the best, i wouldn't trade it for anything. it really has served its purpose. but i think we always have to be ready for that possible contingency in the future if we suddenly had to face an unexpected event. >> thank you. mr. chairman, may i have 30 more
seconds? >> without objection, so ordered. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would, in terms of looking at forward bases and whether or not we can demonstrate our support for our allies whether in nato or south korea through scheduled regular routine joint military exercises, we're spending almost 4% of our gdp on defense, i think only four of our 28 nato allies are spending the required 2% required under the nato charter. in south korea they're spending 2.7% of their gross domestic product on defense. i believe we're at north of 3.6%. it seems like we care more about defending the south koreans and the europeans than the europeans and the south koreans. and so i think that we need to strike a balance in that. thank you, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> the chair now recognizes mr. scott from georgia.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. general, mr. secretary, appreciate your being here, and we've talked a lot about the cuts on the top line, and be i represent robins air force base in georgia, and we have moody to my south, benning to my west, and i should not have started naming all of the bases. the mill stair industrial -- military industrial base are very important to us, and i did not vote for this sequestration. i think it's too much. now, i do believe properly managed we can take our cuts, and i believe -- i couldn't think of a better person to help us manage through that than you, mr. secretary. one of my concerns is when i look at the things that we're doing that are cost drivers, the energy policy act of 2005 says that in our new facilities we
can have 0% fossil fuels in providing the energy for those facilities by 2030. that means no natural gas, no coal, no petroleum. and i guess one is, is that realistic? and two is, if -- i think this is just one example, i would say, of a policy that's been put in place with well meaning intentions that is going to take, um, energy as a percentage of your operations from approximately 3, 3.5% as i understand it today up to a much more significant portion of your budget. and i guess my question is, what other cost drivers are there like that that we could make some changes to that would help you in reducing your costs? >> congressman, you know, as, as
part of the strategy approach to look at, first of all, the overall needs and then determine where we go, i really do have to -- i've got to put everything on the table ip duding what -- including what you just discussed to make sure we're implementing the most cost efficient approach in the dealing with these issues. you know, i understand at a time, you know, when we were getting a blank check and things were doing fine, you could do all kinds of things. but now i'm in a situation where i frankly have to tighten the belt, and that means i've got to look at everything. and the areas you pointed out are something we have to look at to make sure it looks sense. >> i hope you'll give i us a list of the things you need us to help you with along those lines. because i do believe in order for us to reach our top line goals without, without affecting national security that we're going to have to look at cost drivers like that.
and with that said, i know that y'all waited three hours for me to ask that question. [laughter] i'll just tell you we're ready, willing and able to work with the two of you to solve, solve this challenge. >> thank you. >> i yield back my time. >> all right. the gentleman yields back. the chair now recognizes the gentleman, mr. young, from indiana. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary and general dempsey, so much for visiting us today. i have to say i've been incredibly encouraged, more so than any hearing identify attended thus far -- i've attended thus far in my time here because you've discuss inside a direct way the need to assess risk, to accept risk, to articulate precisely which risks we're willing to accept, to do the whole probability of risk times anticipated cost of any given threat. that's exactly the sort of analysis that i've been pushing
for for months here, and i know others have as well. and so i thank you for your leadership. coming out of that analysis, of course, we'll be able to, i hope, prioritize missions, and that in turn will inform our spending decisions here in washington; where do we fund personnel, what skill sets are needed, what weapons platforms. that's the way we do business, and it's really refreshing. i'm going to pivot a bit, having given you those kudos to the war in afghanistan where i see less clarity, and i hope in coming weeks and months perhaps years we'll be required to get some more clarity as to what our nation's doctrine is. willing secretary, you -- mr. secretary, you indicated we're in afghanistan to keep afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorism. true, it seems, and i hear that from many. that's a bit too vague for me. we did, as mr. jones said
earlier, we got bin laden. al-qaeda has dispersed around the world. if a safe haven for terrorists exists, it's right next door in pakistan. so what is this doctrine that justifies a massive ground presence in afghanistan, how do we measure success this that theater in particular but also in other theaters if it's justified to have an american presence there, what's the exit strategy? it's going to take well past my reserved time here for you to be able to answer that, as you get halfway into answering the first question of that litany, my time will expire. so i just want to encourage you to clarify these things. people are losing their legs, people are dying, and we owe it to all of them and their families in the united states of america. going to focus narrowly on one aspect of our exit strategy, though, and that is our fiscal
commitment to the region. it remains open ended. right now we're spending $120 billion a year, and as far as the eye can see from the my vantage point we're going to continue to spend money in that region in the form of foreign aid and military assistance to harden the police and military forces there. what is this administration's, mr. secretary, what is this administration's economic strategy for afghanistan which it, under the law, was required to present to this congress before you were sworn in back in june, we're still waiting on it? >> congressman, you know, again, i really understand the concerns and all of the issues you raised, and i think we, you know, frankly, both of us can more fully respond to it. but, i mean, i didn't, i didn't want support going into iraq.
but when you look at iraq today, iraq is a more stable country and a very -- in a very important region that is exercising self-government, is exercising the kind of rights and responsibilities that it never enjoyed in the past, and as a result of that it becomes a more secure area, and it becomes an area this which they can govern themselves. and more importantly, they themselves can exercise the responsibility of maintaining stability there. that's an important achievement. that's an important achievement. i hope that we can do the same in if afghanistan. >> and so that is, as you have articulated, at least in summary fashion the economic strategy for afghanistan? that's, that's narrowly what i'm asking for here, and if you wish to follow up, i certainly understand that. >> well, i think, i mean, obviously, in iraq the economic strategy's a lot easier because they have an oil resource.
in afghanistan it's much tougher. now, they do have minerals, they do have resources. none of that has really been fully developed, but i think, you know, providing that kind of support and allowing them to be economically independent is going to be part of the solution here, otherwise it's not going to work. >> and as you say inexempt, i think trade -- independent, i think trade. might trade be part of the answer not just in afghanistan, but regionally? is. >> yes, very much. >> well, very encouraged to hear that, and i look forward to working with the administration, this department and others to move that ball forward. thank you. >> the chair now recognizes mr. platts from pennsylvania. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, general dempsey, an honor to be with you and, first, want to thank both of you for your many, many years of dedicated service to our nation. we certainly are blessed by both of you, what you done in the past and what you continue to do now in your new positions. um, i want to first express on a
policy gratitude to the frank assessment of where we are, that while we are addressing fiscal challenges of our nation that we don't do it on the backs of our courageous men and women in uniform and at the risk of our national security. and you both have been very, play very important roles, and your assessment of where we are with the 450 billion plus cuts that are already coming and what that will do to national security and our commitment to men and women in uniform and their families is so important to this dialogue, this debate that's ongoing, so i thank you. um, mr. secretary, i will also commend you in your testimony, i am running back and forth between a mark 'em and oversight in government reform but did get to hear on c-span radio your opening statements although i wasn't here in the room. and your focus on financial management within the department in the oversight and government reform committee, i chair the
subcommittee on financial management. just three weeks ago had undersecretary hale's keepty before -- deputy before us and talking about where dod is moving to 2017. i was delighted as i listened to the radio this morning and heard your reference to trying to expedite the process and getting to that clean audit, and just, i guess, two words of caution. one that is so important that we get there because it'll allow better management of your resources, especially in tight fiscal times, but that it be true systemic changes, not ultimately heroic effort to get a clean audit. and you reference in your testimony financial controls, internal controls is where it's at. and the second is that we not repeat the errors of the past with the dimers plan, the defense integrated human military resource or system that over 12 years we spent over a billion dollars on and,
unfortunately, did not get a result from a billion dollars of taxpayer funds. we learned from that and not repeat that. but your leadership on financial management, on the civilian side and, general dempsey, on the uniform side is going to be key. and this, ultimately, is making sure we have the resources to provide the training, the equipment that our men and women need and we do right by them and their families. so your focus on that. a final one really maybe beyond the general scope of today's hearing but just a concern i have, um, regarding our efforts in afghanistan. and, um, that is when the president announced the surge -- which i commended back in december of 2009 -- and then the goal of starting to draw down troops this year, an important aspect of his statement was based on the facts on the ground. and i accept the decision of -- he is commander in chief, and our military leadership at the department that we can begin that 10,000 troop drawdown this year. my concern is that we're already
committed to 23,000 next year when we don't know what the facts will be on the ground next year. and if we're going to stick by that number, i hope within the department and with the joint chiefs that we'll look at at least moving it back to december 31st once the winter sets in and the true fighting season is over because now it's currently september 30th, and i think that creates a hardship for our commanders on the ground in how to deal with the full fighting season in afghanistan next year. so, um, no questions. i'll let you wrap up. you've been very patient with all of us, but again, just conclude with a thanks for both of your leaderships. we're blessed because of both of you being in the position you're in. >> congressman, thank you for all your remarks. on the last point, i want to assure you general allen has just been outstanding in the way he's addressed his command position there. and i'm going to rely a great
deal on his recommendations as we go through this process. >> great to hear. so thanks again. wish you both great success in your new assignments and, again, just as a nation to have both of you in those positions is a blessing for your nation, for our security. with that, i yield back, mr. chairman. >> the gentleman yields back. seeing no more questions, i'll reserve the last question for myself. [laughter] secretary panetta, as others advocate for immediate and sharp cuts to defense, the actual implementation of such cuts are rarely discussed. i'm concerned that such a rapid decline in funding could result in an increase, not a reduction, in short-term costs for things such as termination costs on contracts, you have already committed to and increased procurement costs. can you describe to the committee how such unplanned reductions should they result be implemented, and what liability could we face because of termination of many of the plan procurements? >> you know, i think we've got
to take those issues into consideration. otherwise, you know, i don't want to cut off my nose to spite my face in this process. and if we try to get savings that we've identified and wind up costing us more because we've done it in a stupid fashion, i think that's a mistake. i mean, as i mentioned earlier in my testimony, i went through the process, and i know that all the dollars that people looked at for huge savings in the brach, and they department take into consideration the cleanup, all the work that had to be done, they didn't take into consideration all of the needs that had to be addressed, and in many cases it wound up costing a lot more. i don't want to repeat that mistake. >> very well. again, seeing no questions, members may have additional questions. please respond to them in writing. i want to thank the witnesses for their service to their country and for their testimony here today. the witnesses are excused, this hearing's adjourned.
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> today, a house energy and commerce subcommittee hearing looks into government loans to bankrupt solar company solyndra. live coverage begins at 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span2. >> it's a fact-based story on a topic of your choosing. every story has a good beginning, a solid middle and a strong ending. >> what do you think we should
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this work. you can use your parents, other students, teachers and c-span as resources for you along the way. this process is both fun and extremely rewarding. with a little bit of effort, anyone can do this. ♪ >> transportation secretary ray lahood spoke at the national press club yesterday and took questions from reporters. he talked about infrastructure spending as a way to increase employment and partisanship on cap top hill -- capitol hill over jobs legislation. this is an hour. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
>> good afternoon and welcome to the national press club. my name is angela keane, reporter for bloomberg government and membership secretary of the national press club. we are the world's leading professional organization for journalists committed to our profession's future through our programming events such as this while fostering a free press worldwide. for more information, please visit our web site at wwws do press.org -- www.press.org. please visit www.press.org/library. on behalf of our members worldwide, i'd like to welcome our speaker and those of you attending today's event. our head table includes guests of our speaker as well as working journalists who are club members, and if you happen to hear applause in the audience, we'd note members of the general public are also attending. i'd also like to welcome our c-span and public radio audiences. our luncheons are also featured
on our weekly podcast from the national press club available on itunes. you can also follow the action on twitter. after our guest speech concludes, we'll have a question/answer session, and i will ask as many questions as time permits. now, it's time to introduce our head table. a journalist's president does not signify an endorsement of the speaker. from your right, jennifer michaels, editor of aviation tailly. chuck lewis, senior editor at hearst newspaper's washington bureau. undersecretary for policy at the department of transportation and a guest of our speaker. sylvia smith, features editor for state news at the aarp bulletin and the committee member who organized today's lunch. thank you, sylvia. >> ed wilkins, the guest of the speaker. skipping over the podium,
marilyn of national public radio and vice chair to have speaker's committee. skipping over our speaker for the moment, jerry, washington bureau chief to have buffalo news. jill zuckman, director of public affairs and a guest of our speaker. patrick host, a freelance reporter and vice chair of the press club's young members committee. katherine, reporter for the chicago tribune, washington bureau, and matt, president of the advocatus group. [applause] we last invited secretary ray lahood to speak at the national press club luncheon when he was the newly-minted secretary of transportation. he was one of two republicanses in the new democratic president's candidate. to say it's been a rocky road would overstate history, but lahood's tenure as secretary of transportation has not been without some bumps. in the past three years,
industry segments made headlines frequently. faa partially shut down, republican governors sending back stimulus money intended for high-speed rail projects, toyota projects recalled worldwide -- fighting success my i may add -- successfully, i may add -- over money that the department gave to build a tunnel christie decided not to build. but that did not address the underlying issues of how to fund the nation's infrastructure needs without addressing the long-term funding issues. mr. lahood has been the most high profile transportation secretary in a long time, and he helped spend the stimulus money that was the first big transportation infusion in many years. and mr. lahood has be put one of his personal passions, distracted driving, on the radar across the u.s. but, perhaps one of the biggest expectations of mr. lahood had nothing to do with planes, trucks, highways, seat belts or
buses. as a long-term and well-liked republican congressman who had planned to retire at the end of 2008, lahood's presence in obama's cabinet was the kind of description we can apply to that relationship right now is it's a work in progress. transportation, whether it's to work, for personal pleasure, for shipping what america makes and buys or for the jobs it provides, touches all of our lives. please join me in welcoming transportation secretary ray lahood. [applause] >> well, good noontime, everyone. thank you all very much. thank you for the invitation from the press club to come back. this is my second visit, and i'm delighted to be back. and before i given, i want to say a special -- before i begin, i want to say a special word of thanks to jill zuckman who has
been in charge of our public affairs for the last two and a half years and has put the department of transportation, i think, on a level with, certainly, other high profile cabinet organizations. and we're going to miss jill, and she's put together a great team of others, and we're grateful for her service. i also want to say a special word of welcome to these georgetown students who are here. i hope you're here because you're interested in transportation, but i probably know better than that. maybe you're just here because your professor told you you had to be here. but in any event, we're delighted that you are here. [laughter] and wish you well in your studies. i want to say to begin with that what i'd like to do is talk for a few minutes about some issues that i feel very, very strongly about and then, obviously, i'll
be happy to answer any and all questions that angela decides she wants me to answer. um, i want to talk about what i believe is on the minds of americans today which is getting family, friends and neighbors back to work. since labor day aye been to ten -- i've been to ten states around the country. and what i've found is that every family knows somebody that's unemployed in america today. and every family has somebody that's unemployed in america today. i don't know if that condition has ever existed during the time that i've been in public service for 35 years, but it exists today. and we have millions of people who want their job back and countless construction jobs waiting to get started. so if you'll indulge me for a
moment, i'd like to start by reading the words of a newsmaker from another time. and i'll begin with this quote. one of america's great material blessings is the outstanding network of roads and highways that spreads across this vast continent. he continued, freedom of travel and the romance of the road are vital parts of our heritage. they also form a vital commercial artery unequaled anywhere else in the world. and the passage goes on, but let's face it: time and wear have taken their toll, so i'm asking the congress to approve a new highway program. it will stimulate 170,000 jobs not in make-work projects, but in real, worthwhile work in the hard-hit construction industries and an additional 150,000 jobs
in related industries. as a result, the speaker or concluded, we will be preserving for future generations highway, a highway system that has long been the envy of the world. end quote. nobody in this room will be able to get who said that, so i'm going to tell you. president ronald reagan gave that speech. the date was november 27, 1982, just 40 days before president reagan made the surface transportation assistance act a law by signing it into law. in a five-week period, which included christmas and new year's, reagan's transportation jobs bill passed the congress controlled by the opposition party which only weeks before had picked up 27 seats in the
1982 midterm elections. and by the way, that particular piece of legislation also extended unemployment benefits which president reagan himself called, i quote, badly needed assistance. talk about a bipartisan jobs package. that was it. wouldn't it be great if we could recreate that kind of history today in the -- today in washington? and i remember this very clearly because i was about to start a new job as a staffer for republican leader bob michael, the man they called the greatest speaker the house never had. leader michael fought tenaciously for president reagan's transportation bill but only because he was the president's ally in congress. but also because he knew that
investments in roads, bridges, transit systems were an essential way to put our illinois constituents and americans back to work. so here we are today, three decades later, and these same american roads and bridges and transit systems are in greater need of repair than ever before. today is the 35th day since president obama took to the house rostrum and asked congress to pass the american jobs act. and unless there's some kind of miracle between now and the next tuesday, the 40th day will come and go with no relief for friends and neighbors looking for work. the fact is we have a crisis in our country. our citizens, our friends and neighbors, family members are struggling amidst the worst economic conditions of a lifetime. our transportation systems are
overburdened and fast becoming obsolete. our politics are so broken that we can't connect the people who need work with the work that needs to be done. our institutions of government have become so paralyzed that we can't enact tried and true policy prescriptions. bipartisan remedies that have a track record of improving our economy's well being. think about the reality i deal with every single day as your transportation secretary. america's roads are so choked with congestion that the average commuter -- all of you know this -- spends 242% more time stuck in traffic than when president reagan signed that surface transportation bill in 1982. this drains $100 billion in wasted fuel and lost productivity from our economy
annually. that's as much as the united states isn't on r&d for the entire apollo space program adjusted for inflation. at the same time, bridges are crumbling beneath our wheels, more than one in four of america's bridges are substandard. one in four, including an astonishing 12% that are structurally deficient. that's 68,858 bridges that while safe to drive on, are nearing the end of their life span. just look at the sherman mitten bridge where i was at recently which links louisville, kentucky, with southern indiana. three weeks ago officials discovered significant cracks in the steel support beams of the 49-year-old bridge. as a result, they were forced to shut the whole bridge down, all six lanes of i-64 and u.s. 50. the local traffic was so bad that resident have dubbed the
situation shermageddon. our aviation system is reaching capacity too. the united states is now home to the worst air traffic congestion. a quarter of our flights arrive more than 15 minutes late, and our national average for delayed flights is twice that of europe. meanwhile, compare this to transportation systems around the globe. the chinese just opened the world's largest bridge, long enough to cross the english channel with sick miles to spare -- six miles to spare. they're also paving tens of thousands of miles of expressways. by the end of the decade, they'll surpass the united states in total highway distance. and the port of shanghai now moves more container traffic every year than the seven top u.s. ports combined. or think of this, in the 14 countries with true high-speed
rail, passengers can ride a total of more than 15,000 miles at speeds faster than 220 miles per hour. in the united states, they can ride exactly zero. this about sums it up. as recently as 2005, the world economic forum ranked america's infrastructure as the best in the world. today we're not even in the top ten. what's more, while it may feel like we're saving a few bucks by doing nothing, the long-term costs of inaction are staggering. one recent report estimates that our poor infrastructure shaves .2% off -- .2% points off of our gdp every year. former homeland security secretary tom ridge and others conducted a study that it adds $175 billion to our national deficit annually.
of by 2035 our bill for deferred transportation maintenance will be someplace in the neighborhood of $5 trillion. just for comparison sake, that's roughly the size of japan's entire economy. of course, this is all taking place at a time when millions of americans are looking to get their jobs back. many more are struggling to make ends meet as they work fewer hours for less pay. this is more than an economic problem, this is an opportunity that we're wasting. every successive day that congress finds a reason not to act is another day that an unemployed mom or dad decides between the groceries and the represent. it's another day that for someone the american dream of buying a home or putting a child through college slips further from their reach. a lot has changed in this town since i arrived more than 35 years ago, but nothing changed
more than the evolution of a culture in which elected officials are rewarded for intransigence. for too many compromise has become a dirty word, and for many compromise is not even in their dictionary. and cooperation is an unforgive bl sin -- unforgivable sin to some. i'm not one of those who pines for a yesterday when we remember as far better than it actually was. there was a time when members of congress got into fistfights on the house floor. i witnessed a few. a sitting vice president once shot and killed the former treasury secretary. politics has never been for the faint of heart, but even so partisan rancor somehow feels a lot worse today than it ever has. you know the pattern; one side reaches out, the other digs in their heels. nothing gets done, the
commentators obsess on the cable news channels about who's up and who's down like government is some kind of an endless football game. and the voters tune out. a pox on both your houses, they say. after 14 years in congress myself, i am all too familiar with this dynamic. and when president obama invited me and asked me to serve as a republican in his democratic administration, i accepted his invitation not just in spite of our differences on a small handful of issues, but because of them. you see, president obama didn't ask me to switch from one side to the other. he asked for my ideas. he asked for my perspective. he asked me to help solve the american people's problems, to stand up for compromise and cooperation this those areas where democrats and republicans have almost always agreed. and there's no better example of
a traditionally bipartisan issue than transportation. there's no such thing as a democratic or republican bridge, a democratic or republican road, a democratic or republican job. repairing bridges or roads that are in danger of falling down. our infrastructure belongs to america. american infrastructure has been built by american workers. it's more than the way we get from one place to another, it's the way we lead our lives and pursue our dreams. and furthermore, this this economy -- in this economy job creation should be everyone's number one priority. that's why when i was in congress, the house passed america's last two transportation bills with 417 votes. that's about as bipart an san as -- bipartisan as you can get.
that's the definition of bipartisanship. and that was in 2005 and 1998 right after i came to the congress it was 337 votes. again, that's the definition of bipartisanship. and frankly, that's why president obama proposed the american jobs act. a package of historically bipartisan policies. and that's why i'm barn storming the country and knocking on every door of every congressman that'll see me. my message is congress needs to pass a bill. here's what president obama put forward. first, the american jobs act includes 50 billion immediate investment in construction jobs rebuilding america's roadways, railways, transit systems and airports. it will hire american workers to upgrade 150,000 miles of road, to lay or maintain 4,000 miles of track, to restore 150 miles
of runways and to put in place a next generation air traffic control system that will reduce travel time and delays. anything partisan about that? i can't think of anything. second, the american jobs act includes a national infrastructure bank with ten billion in up-front funding. the bank will operate independently and issue loans emphasizing two criteria: how badly a project is needed and how much good it would do for the economy. no boondoggles, no bridges to nowhere, no unnecessary red tape. third, through a recently-issued memorandum president obama has already directed our department and agency to identify high impact job-creating infrastructure projects so we can fast track them through the review and permitting process. at the department of transportation, we picked sick to start with including
replacing the tapen si bridge in new york, extending transit systems in l.a. and baltimore and installing next generation technology to two houston airports. seems to me that democrats and republicans can both agree that we should speed up project delivery time. and finally, all of this is funded without putting it on the debt or deficit. the president proposed that we pay for the american jobs act through his long-term plan to pay down our debt, a plan that cuts spending and asks the wealthiest citizens and biggest corporations to kick in their fair share in taxes. this is about priorities. it's about choices. should we repair those 69,000 worn out bridges or keep tax loopholes for oil companies? should we hire construction workers to build a national
high-speed rail network that connects 80% of americans or let billionaires pay lower tax rates than their secretaries? we've heard economists and analysts of every political persuasion tell us that the president's jobs bill will boost the economy and spur hiring. more importantly, we've heard the uproar of enthusiasm from the american people. i've traveled to more than 200 cities in 47 states during the last three years. everywhere i go people come up to me and say the same thing; put my neighbors back to work rebuilding our country. just in the months since president obama sent the american jobs act to congress, i've met with construction workers building charlotte's streetcar system, oakland's control tower, i've visited with leaders of the american labor movement, i thank my friend ed
for being here today. we met with some of his folks in many las vegas at a convention, with business leaders in kansas city, with economic development officials in anchorage, alaska. their response to president obama's call to action has been overwhelming at every stop, workers are shouting, "pass the bill." pass the bill now. businessmen and women tell us we owe job creators and not -- and our future the safest, fastest, most efficient ways to move people and products. moreover, this is no partisan sentiment. in one poll conducted earlier this year, two out of three voters and 59% of tea party supporters said making improvements in transportation is extremely important. unlikely allies like the chamber of commerce's tom donohue and afl-cio president rich trumka are putting their full-throated
advocacy behind transportation investments. bipartisan. i talked with both of them about it at great length, many governors also rejected the premises that jobs on transportation projects should be proxies in congress' political warfare. at the sherman-mitten bridge, kentucky governor steve bashir and mitch daniels, republican governor of indiana, worked together and are working together to repair and reopen that bridge. now, i mentioned my service with republican leader bob michael. he knew how to play partisan, and he was, he could be very tough when he wanted to be. but he also knew how and when to sit down across there the other person to hammer out a deal because it was the best thing for the american people. this is one of those moments when the american people are counting on their representatives in washington to set aside their differences and achieve the possible, not the perfect.
they should expect nothing less. we've had a rich history in this country of bipartisanship, particularly when it comes to transportation, particularly when it comes to putting friends and neighbors to work. no one can or will get everything they want, and i've personally delivered that message to some of my former colleagues on the republican side of the aisle. so all those years ago when president reagan signed his transportation bill into law, he said that america could once again -- and i quote -- insure for our children a special part of their heritage, a network of highways and mass transit that has enabled our commerce to thrive, our country to grow and our people to roam freely and easily to every corner of our land, end of quote. our transportation system is a special part of our rich 235-year heritagement --
heritage. the canals that first made interstate commerce possible, the transcontinental railroad that connected our costs, the interstate highway system that enabled a half a century of unrivaled opportunity and prosperity, american workers dreamed these things and were able to accomplish them. american workers wielded the shovels, forged the iron, laid the tracks and poured the concrete that brought these things to life in america. american workers passed these things on to us, their children and grandchildren. we owe it to them, congress owes it to them to continue to pass it on to their children and grandchildren. american workers paid the taxes that were he's to finance these investments -- he's to finance these investment for tomorrow, they sacrificed so their neighbors would have jobs, so so their businesses would flourish, so all of us would reap the benefit of living in the best
country in the world. this was america's recipe for success, this was the way we took responsibility for the future. the united states isn't a nation that just talks about building big things only to get mired in the smallnd of politics. we don't skirt tough issues and kick challenges down the road. that's beneath us. we're better than that. in america we do big things, we always have. we solve problems. we always have. we put our friends and neighbors to work, we always have. and if congress passes president obama's jobs bill, we can once again put people back to work making our nation's transportation system the envy of the world. just to borrow a phrase from president reagan. with that, i'll be happy to take your questions. [applause]
>> thank you, mr. secretary. we do have a lot of questions. i think they cover, um, every mode and every element of politics, so we'll get started. the next highway bill and complete faa reauthorization including next general would have been a huge job creator. why didn't the president include those measures in his jobs bill? >> why -- >> with why didn't he include them in the jobs bill? >> i mean, if you look at the jobs bill, it's $440 billion, 50 billion is for roads and bridges, transit, high-speed rail, every mode of transportation. ten billion for the infrastructure bank. i think the president was trying to give an infusion so that people could go to work quickly, certainly during the next construction season while the congress worked on a five-year, six-year transportation bill.
i think the president's notion as a part of the jobs act is let's get some money out there quickly, $50 billion. we received $48 billion in the stimulus bill two year years ago. we've obligated it all. most of it's been spent. we created 65,000 jobs and 15,000 projects. we believe $50 billion we can spend quickly and put people to work quickly while the congress passes a transportation bill. the big vision. i think that's the reason the president proposed what he did with the hope that congress would then pass, you know, we've gone two and a half years beyond the last transportation bill. and so the -- i think the president believed a direct infusion, the way that we did with stimulus. and you haven't seen any bad stories written about our $48 billion. there were no boondoggles, no earmarks, no sweetheart